Money & Banking
NBFC-MFIs to take a hit as RBI reins in self-help groups
Banks are asked by RBI to start sharing SHG data with credit bureaus. This move will put a check on overleveraging and borrowings by individuals from multiple sources and can possibly strain the asset quality of a few NBFC-MFIs, says a report
 
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has asked banks to collect credit information of members from self-help groups (SHGs) while sanctioning a loan to new SHGs, or renewal of existing loans, and granting of additional loans to existing groups. This move will hit credit growth and asset quality of non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) and micro finance institutions (MFIs). This is because, the data sharing will rein in the prevalence of overleveraging and multiple-source borrowing, thus weeding out persons who are currently borrowing from SHGs to repay NBFC-MFIs, says a research report.
 
In the research note, Religare Capital Markets Ltd, says, "With this move, the RBI aims to put a check on overleveraging and borrowings by individual customers from multiple sources, which will improve the sector’s outlook in the longer run. Though MFI growth and asset quality are likely to suffer in the near term, we believe the central bank’s move will be long-term beneficial for all stakeholders."
 
 
According to Religare, due to the RBI's move, MFI credit growth will take a hit over medium term. As on FY14, SHG credit from banks stood at Rs429 billion and formed 1.5 times of MFI credit. SHGs have a large presence in thriving MFI markets such as Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Odisha, and account for about 60% of total microfinance credit.
 
"The new guidelines will dampen growth over the medium term as the aggregation of MFI and SHG data will lead to a potential shakeout of duplicate customers as many may reach the cap of Rs1 lakh on microcredit that can be availed per person, and a breaching of the cap on the number of institutions permitted to lend to an individual-maximum of two, which may now be applicable on the aggregate data. The above limits currently apply only to joint lending group (JLG) loans, but upon data aggregation the limit is likely to be made applicable to bank as well as MFI borrowings," the report says.
 
At present, the absence of a shared database masks non-performing assets (NPAs) of NBFC-MFIs. Once the database becomes fully operational, it will put a check on such borrowers and can possibly strain the asset quality of a few NBFC-MFIs. Due to this, Religare says it sees repayment difficulties for customers who are currently borrowing from weak public sector banks and paying back NBFC-MFIs.

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Now, do a Post-Graduate Certificate Course in RTI Act
The Department of Civics & Politics of the Mumbai University has launched a Post Graduate Certificate Course in RTI which will help citizens formally empower themselves
 
The need for a formal educational degree in RTI Act was an idea spun off at the 2015 National Right to Information (RTI) Convention in Mumbai. Within a year, it has resulted in starting a study course, titled `Post Graduate Certificate Course in Right to Information’ (PGCCRTI) by the Mumbai University’s Department of Civics & Politics.
 
With 50 post-graduate students enrolled for the first batch, the Mumbai University on 14 January 2016 inaugurated the six-month PGCCRTI at its Kalina Campus. The course was inaugurated by noted RTI activist Nikil Dey and attended by Maharashtra State Chief Information Commissioner Ratnakar Gaikwad.
 
The ambitious project, guided by Mumbai-based stalwart RTI activists Shailesh Gandhi and Bhaskar Prabhu was worked upon by Surendra Jondhale, Head of the Department, Civics & Politics. Mridul Nile, a PhD student, dug into the details of the study for the course. Several NGOs and experts are teaching various facets of RTI Act, but a comprehensive, academic course was not in existence and this one promises to meet the requirement.
 
There will be three papers. i) Right to Information: Basic Framework, ii) Right to Information Act 2005 and iii) Projects. 
 
To pass the course, the student is required to procure 50% marks in all three subjects. Lectures would be conducted during weekends.
 
The syllabus states: “The objective of the course is to sensitize citizens, civil society members, professionals, government officials for transparent and accessible governance and enthuse amongst them a spirit of participatory democracy. Further the course endeavors to strengthen civil society participation governance and initiate a responsive citizenry.”
 
Following are the syllabus details:
 
Paper I: Right to Information: Basic Framework
  1. Constitutional Framework
    a) Philosophy of Indian Constitution
    b) Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles of State Policy
    c) Constitutional Provisions of RTI: Article 19 (1), (2) and Art 21
    d) Manifestations of Freedom in 21st Century
  2. International Framework
    a) Theories of Right to Information
    b) History of RTI in the World
    c) International Laws on Transparency
    d) Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  3. Development of RTI in India
    a) Supreme Court/High Courts judgements
    b) Initiatives and Movements:  NCPRI, CHRI, Anna Hazare, MKSS and others
    c) Information Acts in States
    d) RTI and Human Rights
  4. Future Trajectory
    a) Whistleblower Act  
    b) Right to Hearing, Grievance Redressal  Bill
    c) Right to Public Services, Transfers and Delays Act
    d) Public Consultation
  5. Case Studies
    a) Inspection and Social Audits
    b) Environment
    c) Urban Issues
    d) Rural Issues
 
 
RTI activist Vijay Kumbhar, whose book on RTI in Marathi, “Pailu Mahitichya Adhikarache”, has been included in the course syllabus states, “This course pioneers RTI study in a thoroughly academic format and would comprehensively make the students aware of the multi-dimensional facets of RTI.’’
 
Here are more details about the PG Certificate Court in RTI from Mumbai University…
 
 
(Vinita Deshmukh is consulting editor of Moneylife, and also convener of the Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She is the recipient of prestigious awards like the Statesman Award for Rural Reporting which she won twice in 1998 and 2005 and the Chameli Devi Jain award for outstanding media person for her investigation series on Dow Chemicals. She co-authored the book "To The Last Bullet - The Inspiring Story of A Braveheart - Ashok Kamte" with Vinita Kamte and is the author of "The Mighty Fall".)
 
 
Paper II: Right to Information Act 2005
 
  1. RTI Act 2005: Preamble and Definitions
    a) Preamble
    b) Appropriate Government and Competent authority  
    c) Information, Public Authority, Record and Right to Information
    d) Information Commission, Public information officer and Third party
  2. Obligations of Public Authorities
    a) Eligibility of applicants
    b) Public authority obligations about suo motto disclosures
    c) Appointment of PIO and their duties
    d) Submissions and Disposal of Applications

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Sunanda Pushkar's death was unnatural: Bassi
New Delhi : The current observation of the final viscera report of Sunanda Pushkar gives a clear impression that she died an unnatural death, Delhi Police Commissioner B.S. Bassi said on Friday.
 
"The current investigation of the final viscera report submitted to the Delhi Police states that Sunanda Pushkar did not die a natural death... that is for certain. It was an unnatural death," Bassi told reporters here.
 
The Delhi Police is reviewing the final viscera report of Pushkar, who died here under mysterious circumstances two years ago. She was the wife of Congress MP Shashi Tharoor.
 
Calling the report longish, Bassi said: "It will take some time for us to go through the entire report as it also has several annexures. Once we go through the entire report, we will take the necessary steps."
 
The final report comes in the wake of the Delhi Police receiving the viscera report in November from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), where it was sent to determine the kind of poison that killed Pushkar, after an AIIMS medical board identified poisoning as the reason for her death.
 
Commenting on the FBI report, Bassi said: "None of the samples contained radio-active elements, according to the FBI." 
 
Earlier, Bassi had tweeted that Deepak Mishra, special commissioner (law and order), was reviewing the progress.
 
Asked if Tharoor will be interrogated over the issue again, Bassi said the Delhi Police will take all the necessary steps required in the case.
 
Pushkar, 52, was found dead in a south Delhi hotel room on January 17, 2014. 
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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